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In an article about the number of Union loyalists in Tennessee, the New York Times says,
“If within a month our troops advance upon Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis, they will speedily find all the elements to organize a loyal State Government, and a very short time will furnish native loyal arms capable of sustaining it. Tennessee occupies a place of great importance from its geographical position – its boundaries touching on no less than eight Southern States. Its speedy possession by the National Government is a matter of the greatest importance.”
Brig. Gen. Zollicoffer sends out a proclamation to the state of Kentucky explaining that his continuing presence in Kentucky is not to invade them but to protect them from incursions by abolitionists and other “Northern hordes”.
BRIGADE HEADQUARTERS, BERCH GROVE, Ky., Dec. 16, 1861.
To the People of Southeastern Kentucky:
The brigade I have the honor to command is here for no purpose of war upon Kentuckians, but to repel those Northern hordes who, with arms in their hands, are attempting the subjugation of a sister Southern State. They have closed your rivers, embargoed your railroads, cut off your natural and proper markets, left your stock and produce on hands almost valueless, and thereby almost destroyed the value of your lands and labor. We have come to open again your rivers, to restore the ancient markets for your produce, and thereby to return to you the accustomed value of your lands and labor. They have represented us as murderers and outlaws. We have come to convince you that we truly respect the laws, revere justice, and mean to give security to your personal and property rights. They have forced many of you to take up arms against us. We come to take you by the hand as heretofore — as friends and brothers. Their Government has laid heavy taxes on you to carry on this unnatural war, which is openly avowed to be to set at liberty your slaves, and the ensuing steps in which will be to put arms in their hands, and give them political and social equality with yourselves. We saw these things in the beginning, and are offering our hearts’ blood to avert those dreadful evils which we saw the Abolition leaders had deliberately planned for the South. “All men must have the BALLOT or none; all men must have the bullet or none,” said Mr. SEWARD, the present Federal Secretary of State. How long will Kentuckians close their eyes to the contemplated ruin of their present structure of society? How long will they continue to raise their arms against brothers of the South, struggling for those rights, and for that independence common to us all, and which was guaranteed to all by the Constitution of 1787? For many long years we remonstrated against the encroachments against rights, and the insecurity to that property thus guaranteed, which these Northern hordes so remorselessly inflicted upon us. They became deaf to our remonstrances, because they believe they had the power, and felt in every fibre the will to “whip us in.” We have disappointed them. We have broken their columns in almost every conflict. We have early acquired a prestige of success which has stricken terror into the Northern heart. Their “grand armies have been held in check by comparatively few but stern-hearted men; and now they would invoke Kentucky valor to aid them in beating down the true sons of the South who have stood the shock, and in bringing common ruin upon Kentucky and her kindred people. Will you play this unnatural part, Kentuckians? Heaven, forbid. The memories of the past forbid. The honor of your wives and daughters, your past renown, and the fair name of your posterity, forbid that you should strike for Lincoln and the abolition of Slavery against those struggling for the rights and independence of your kindred race. Strike with us for independence and the preservation of your property, and those Northern invaders of your soil will soon be driven across the Ohio.
F.K. ZOLLICOFFER, Brig.-Gen
Martial law is declared in East Tennessee.
Gen. Zollicoffer continues to haunt the southern Kentucky border.
A communication received from Parson Brownlow casts doubt on the hero stories of the previous week:
“I have never, at any time, left Knoxville or elsewhere with any guns …. I voluntarily signed a communication to Gen. Zollicoffer, weeks ago, together with 15 or 20 other gentlemen, pledging ourselves to promote peace, and to urge Union men not to rebel … or to commit any outrages whatever …. I signed it in good faith, and I have kept that faith. “
[NYT, p. 1]
U.S. Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck is given command of the states east of the Mississippi and Brig. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, a West Point graduate with 20 years of military service, is put in command of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee
The Nashville Union and American publishes a speech by Gov. Harris:
“Our people have done more in the work of raising, organizing, arming and equipping an army than was ever before accomplished by any State in the same length of time …. within less than two months … thirty thousand volunteers were organized and thrown into the field … making in the aggregate thirty-eight infantry regiments, seven cavalry battalions, and sixteen artillery companies, which Tennessee has contributed to the common defense.”
The Richmond Whig tells its readers to be prepared for a long war.
“We of the South, who were to attack, have adopted a system of defence, and, so far, have uniformly awaited the advance of the foe …. Our conviction is, that a victorious advance into the enemy’s country is the only road to a lasting and honorable peace. We must fight, and we must conquer, before we can make a treaty.”
The Tennessee General Assembly passes laws to repeal penalties against soldiers for carrying Bowie knives; authorizes tax collectors to receive Confederate Treasury notes; and makes it a capital offense for slaves to burn a barn or other outbuilding. A bill to make slaves real property for taxable purposes does not pass.
As winter approaches, Gov. Isham G. Harris issues a call “to the Patriotic Mothers, Wives and Daughters” of Tennessee for “jeans, linseys, socks, blankets, comforts, and all other articles which will contribute to the relief, health and comfort of the soldier in the field.”
Gov. Isham Harris fires off an angry letter to Jefferson Davis, Maj. Gen. Polk, and Kentucky Governor Magoffin, expressing his displeasure with Gen. Gideon Pillow’s actions at Hickman, Kentucky, the previous day:
“This is unfortunate as the President and myself are pledged to respect the Neutrality of Kentucky. . . . Unless absolutely necessary there would it not be well to order their immediate withdrawal?” [Gov. Harris Papers, Box 3, f. 1